Frequently Asked Questions
Effective January 2013, here are the new rules for the Nebula Awards.
WHAT AWARDS DOES SFWA PRESENT?
* The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.
* Nebula Awards® in 5 categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story.
* The Andre Norton Award for an outstanding young adult science fiction or fantasy book, established in 2006.
* The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation (motion pictures, television, Internet, radio, audio, and stage productions).
* The SFWA Service Award is occasionally given to a SFWA member.
* Although it is not technically an “award,” SFWA honors an Author Emeritus, who is invited to speak at the Nebula Awards banquet.
WHAT ARE THE FORMAL RULES GOVERNING THE NEBULA AWARDS®, THE ANDRE NORTON AWARD, AND THE RAY BRADBURY AWARD?
Here are the formal rules. The questions and answers in this FAQ are intended to serve as a more digestible introduction to the rules and procedures, but the formal rules take precedence in case of conflict.
WHAT’S THE DEFINITION OF A “NOVELLA,” “NOVELETTE,” ETC.?
For the purposes of the Nebula Awards:
* Short Story: less than 7,500 words;
* Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words;
* Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
* Novel: 40,000 words or more.
* At the author’s request, a novella-length work published individually, rather than as a part of a collection, anthology, or other collective work, shall appear in the novel category.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE JURIES?
There are no more juries and all active and associate members of the SFWA in good standing are eligible to make nominations during the nomination period. Publishers are encouraged to make eligible works available to the membership.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ROLLING ELIGIBILITY?
It has been abolished and only works published during the previous calendar year are eligible. For the 2009 Nebula Awards, works which receive at least five (5) recommendations under the previous Nebula Awards® rules and were published after July 1, 2008, but did not make the 2008 Preliminary Ballot shall be nominated per these rules during the nomination period, with the number of recommendations they received added to their total number of nominations. Members who recommended these works will not have their total number of allowed nominations reduced, but they may not nominate these works a second time.
WHEN ARE THE AWARDS ANNOUNCED?
At the annual Nebula Awards banquet. The date varies from year to year, but the ceremonies are held over the course of a weekend in April or early May. The awards are given out for the best work of the preceding year; for example, the “2003 Nebula Awards” were awarded in April 2004.
HOW CAN I ENTER MY WORK INTO THE COMPETITION FOR A NEBULA AWARD, ANDRE NORTON AWARD, OR THE RAY BRADBURY AWARD?
There is no formal entry procedure. All works published during the eligibility period are considered by the SFWA membership.
WHO DECIDES WHAT WINS, AND HOW IS THE WINNER DETERMINED?
The Final Ballot is voted on by Active and Lifetime Active members of SFWA. In the event of a tie after voting on the Final Ballot, the total number of nominations received for each work will determine the winner. If the number of nominations is also tied, then the tie shall stand, and all such tied works shall receive the award.
HOW DOES A WORK GET ONTO THE FINAL BALLOT?
The Final Ballot shall be comprised of the top six works in each category which receive the most nominations. In the event of a tie within a category for number of nominations, all tied works shall appear on the Final Ballot, but in no event will more than a total of six works be listed per category, unless there is a tie for the final slot on the ballot in a category, in which case all such tied works will be listed no matter the number. Nominations may be made by any Active, Lifetime Active, Associate or Lifetime Associate member of SFWA.
CAN I DO ANYTHING TO HELP MY WORK’S CHANCES?
* Offer to give a complimentary copy of your work to any SFWA member who requests one.
* Supply the SFWA web site with an electronic copy of the work.
* Withdraw your work from consideration.
HOW CAN I OFFER TO GIVE A COMPLIMENTARY COPY OF MY WORK TO ANY SFWA MEMBER WHO REQUESTS ONE?
Contact the editor of the Nebula Awards Report and inform him that you will do this. He will then list your work in the Nebula Awards Report with an annotation about the offer of a complimentary copy. If you are not a SFWA member, he will also include your email address as the contact point (that’s not necessary for SFWA members, whose contact information can be found in the SFWA directory).
CAN I HAVE MY WORK POSTED ON THE SFWA WEB SITE IN THE PRIVATE MEMBERS’ SECTION?
Yes, if it is currently listed in the Nebula Awards Report (which also means the work must have been published somewhere already and it must have been recommended by a SFWA member). These formats are preferred: rtf, pdf, MS Word (we will convert to a simple html format). If you have your work only in another format, query first. The private members’ section of the SFWA web site is accessible only by SFWA members, so posting there generally is not considered to be “publication” or a breach of copyright. Do not send unpublished works to this address. We are not a publisher.
HOW MIGHT WITHDRAWING MY WORK HELP ITS CHANCES?
The author of any eligible work may withdraw it from consideration in a given year and request that a later edition be considered for the Nebula, but only in two specific cases: (a) if it appeared as a limited edition publication, or (b) if the author finds the published version unacceptable as the result of editorial changes or production errors. See the formal rules, items 6 and 7 for more information.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES FROM THE OLD RULES
* The SFWA President shall, in compliance with the Bylaws and established operating procedures, appoint a Nebula Awards Commissioner to oversee and administer the Nebula Awards® and to carry out the duties as outlined herein and any other related responsibilities that may arise during the course of said administration.
* The SFWA President shall, in compliance with the Bylaws and established operating procedures, appoint a three (3) person SFWA Awards Rules Committee (SARC), to rule on questions pertaining to the Nebula Awards® rules. The Nebula Awards Commissioner will serve as a secretary to this committee, but shall not be a voting member.
* The SFWA Board of Directors, at their discretion, may create additional awards in special categories, to be voted on by the Active members in good standing. These additional awards will not be Nebula Awards.
* All Active and Associate members of SFWA in good standing are eligible to make nominations during the NOMINATION PERIOD.
* Works may not be nominated by their authors, editors, publishers, or agents, by spouses or domestic partners of their authors, or by any other party with a monetary interest in the work.
* A secure, web-based form will be provided for all classes of members to offer “suggested reading” throughout the year. ANY class of member will be eligible to add entries to this database, which shall be checked for duplicates and errors by the Nebula Awards Commissioner once per month.
* Effective in 2009, the use of Nebula Juries shall be eliminated, and publishers are encouraged to make eligible works available to the membership.
* The winners of the Nebula Awards, Bradbury Award, and Andre Norton Award shall be announced at an annual Nebula Awards ceremony.
* The interpretation of these rules, and all questions regarding eligibility, withdrawals, nominations, ballots, etc. shall be decided by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, subject to appeal to the SARC. If an author or a director or writer of a dramatic production disagrees with a decision made by the SARC, he or she may apply to the Board of Directors for a further appeal by presenting to them a brief summary of the reasons for the appeal. At this time, the SARC shall provide a summary of their decision to the Board, and, if two members of the Board then believe that an appeal is justified, the decision shall be voted on by the Board, which may overrule the SARC.
* All works first published in English, in the United States, during the calendar year, in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, or a related fiction genre are eligible for the Nebula Awards® in their respective categories.
i. Works such as comic books, graphic novels, and similar type works shall be placed in an existing category as deemed appropriate by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, based primarily on their word count.
ii. The Nebula Awards Commissioner will decide the eligibility of a questionable work.
* Works first published in English on the Internet or in electronic form during the calendar year shall be treated as though published in the United States.
* Word counts for translated works shall be based on the English word count.
* Works not yet released to the general public, such as review copies for a forthcoming work or works published in a password protected or limited distribution workshop, shall not be eligible for nomination or the final ballot until the work is actually released and available to the general public.
* The author of any eligible work may withdraw it from consideration in a given year and request that a later edition be considered for the Nebula, but only in two specific cases:
i. If it appeared as a limited edition publication, or
ii. If the author finds the published version unacceptable as the result of editorial changes or production errors.
* An author must present a written request for withdrawal to the Nebula Awards Commissioner by November 1st or within thirty (30) days after the publication, production, or broadcast of the work, whichever is later.
* For a later edition of a withdrawn work to be eligible, the author must present a written request for reinstatement to the Nebula Awards Commissioner.
* Nominations shall not be accepted for a work withdrawn from eligibility, nor shall nominations on file for any such work be carried over to the future.
* An author may permanently withdraw a work from eligibility by delivering a written request to the Nebula Awards Commissioner. No work so withdrawn shall ever again be eligible for the Nebula Awards.
* If a work published late in the year is withdrawn after November 1st and has received nominations, those nominations will be null and void. The member(s) who nominated the work will be allowed to make replacement nominations.
* The official NOMINATION PERIOD will open on November 15th and continue until February 15th. Nominations will be accepted via a secure web-based form.
a. Only Active and Associate members in good standing shall be eligible to nominate works for the FINAL BALLOT.
b. Nominations shall be treated as confidential information and only the names of the works and numbers of nominations will be available for viewing by other members or the general public.
c. Each eligible member may nominate no more than five different works per category and may not nominate any work more than once.
d. The nominations will be counted by the Nebula Awards Commissioner, who shall compose the FINAL BALLOT.
* The FINAL BALLOT shall be comprised of the top six works in each category which receive the most nominations.
a. In the event that zero (0) works are nominated in a given category, then no award shall be given in that category .
b. In the event that less than six (6) works are nominated in a given category, then all works will be listed on the FINAL BALLOT.
c. In the event of a tie within a category for number of nominations, all tied works shall appear on the FINAL BALLOT, but in no event will more than a total of six works be listed per category, unless there is a tie for the final slot on the ballot in a category, in which case all such tied works will be listed no matter the number.
d. The FINAL BALLOT shall be made available for viewing no later than February 20th.
e. The FINAL BALLOT shall be made available for voting on March 1 via a secure web form. A printable version shall be made available, and members may print and mail their votes in.
f. Only Active members in good standing shall be eligible to vote.*
g. Voting will be open until March 30th for Active Members.
h. No more than one vote may be cast per category, per member.
i. All votes will be tallied by April 1st.
j. The work in each category that receives the most votes will be declared the winner.
k. In the event of a tie after voting on the FINAL BALLOT, the total number of nominations received for each work will determine the winner. If the number of nominations is also tied, then the tie shall stand, and all such tied works shall receive the award.
ONLY FOR THE 2009 NEBULA AWARDS:
* Works which receive at least five (5) recommendations under the previous Nebula Awards® rules and were published after July 1, 2008, but did not make the 2008 Preliminary Ballot shall be nominated per these rules during the nomination period, with the number of recommendations they received added to their total number of nominations. Members who recommended these works will not have their total number of allowed nominations reduced, but they may not nominate these works a second time.
* Works which received less than five (5) recommendations under the previous Nebula rules and were published after July 1, 2008, may be nominated per these rules during the nomination period. Recommendations will not be carried over.
* The FINAL BALLOT shall be mailed in printed form to all members eligible to vote no later than March 1, 2010.
THE RAY BRADBURY AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING DRAMATIC PRESENTATION
* Beginning in 2010 (for works released in 2009), SFWA shall award, in tandem with the Nebula Awards, an annual Ray Bradbury Award for Best Dramatic Presentation. This award is not a Nebula, but shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures, and be administered by the Nebula Awards Commissioner.
* Eligible works for this award shall be dramatic works such as motion pictures, television, Internet, radio, audio, and stage productions.
* The award will be given to the principal director and writer(s) of the production.
THE ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY BOOK
* The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book, established in 2006, is awarded in tandem with the Nebula Awards. This award is not a Nebula, but shall follow all Nebula rules and procedures except as follows:
i. Eligibility: The eligibility period shall be the calendar year. Any book in its first appearance in the English language published as a young adult science fiction or fantasy (or related genre) novel during that period shall be eligible, including graphic novels. Nothing shall preclude a work’s being eligible for both a Nebula Award and an Andre Norton Award. There shall be no word limit. Any questions of eligibility shall be decided:
1. By the Andre Norton Award Jury, in consultation if possible with the author, for purposes of determining whether or not a work is a young adult novel, or
2. By the Nebula Awards Commissioner, in consultation with the SARC and subject to an appeal to that committee, for purposes of determining other aspects of eligibility according to the rules.
3. In the event of a disagreement over jurisdiction, the SARC shall determine whether the eligibility question at issue falls under the jurisdiction of the Jury, the Nebula Awards Commissioner, or the SARC.
* Andre Norton Award Jury: In consultation with the Nebula Awards Commissioner, the President shall appoint an Andre Norton Award Jury. The jury shall consist of at least three (3) and not more than seven (7) members, to consider works published during the calendar year for possible inclusion on the Final Ballot. The jury may add up to three (3) works to the Final Ballot. The jury may not add a work written by a member of the jury or a spouse or domestic partner of a member of the jury to the FINAL BALLOT.
* Nominations: Nominations may be made by any Active or Associate members of SFWA in good standing, and shall be tallied in accordance with the Nebula Awards® rules for novels. Nominations shall be tracked by the Nebula Awards Commissioner and included as a separate category on the FINAL BALLOT.
* FINAL BALLOT: The top six (6) works nominated shall reach the FINAL BALLOT, according to the procedures established for novels. The FINAL BALLOT shall be appended to the Nebula Awards Final Ballot, voted upon by the Active members and counted in accordance with the Nebula rules.
* Winner: The winner shall be the work which receives the most votes during the FINAL BALLOT . Ties shall be handled in the manner established for novels.
*It is anticipated by the Board that Associate members will be allowed to vote on the Final Ballot, once the new by-laws have been ratified by the membership.